All this hub-bub about an arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey case has revived some thoughts that have stirred in my head for a decade now: Why do most people care about this?
Now hear me out. I am certainly not saying that the murder of a six-year-old at Christmas isn't a horrible thing, because it certainly is. But I've never figured out why this particular case garnered so much attention, especially enough for it to make international headlines 10 years later. Let's be honest: If the Ramsey family was not rich, would JonBenet's murder have ever made it to the front page, let alone the top story on national newscasts? Probably not. Yet here we are all these years later mezmorized by some guy named John Mark Karr, who claims he killed Ramsey. By the way, I'm not buying his story yet. From what I've seen and heard, he appears to be a very troubled man with a clearly unhealthy obsession with the whole JonBenet saga. But I digress.
Back to the issue of why people care about this and what makes it news.
I always thought that news was something that affects the most people the most. I can see why the Ramsey case would be news in Boulder, Col.
After all, many parents in the community were likely concerned about an unknown child-killer lurking around at night. But why does it go beyond that?
The JonBenet Ramsey story is certainly not the only one I've wondered about. What made Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart, Laci Petersen, Lori Hocking, Dru Sjodin, Natalee Holloway and runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks national news? They have a couple of things in common. They are all young, white, females who come from middle to upper class families.
Is that all it takes? Maybe. Maybe not. And who makes the decision that a local missing person story is worthy of regional, national and either international attention?
Locally, family and friends haven't seen or heard from Allison Jackson-Foy in nearly three weeks. The 34-year-old was last seen July 30 outside Junction Billiards off Carolina Beach Road. We've done a couple of stories on her, and her family has organized searches to find her. But still nothing. Where are the networks on this one? I'm sure her family and friends would like the attention to help find her.
Despite all the time I've spent in the business and even more as a consumer of news, I doubt I'll ever figure out how something of seemingly just local interest grow to become a media spectacle that dominates headlines for years.
By: Kevin Wuzzardo